Source: Teachers and Teaching, Volume 15, Issue 5 (October 2009), pages 617 - 638.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The 'T-MEDIA' project analysed and documented how teachers exploit the use of projection technologies - data projectors and interactive whiteboards (IWBs) - to support learning in secondary-school subject lessons. The research involved collaboration between university researchers and four pairs of UK teachers (of English, mathematics, science and history) in an intensive process of systematically analysing video recordings of classroom activity and other data in depth. The authors’ goals were to assist teachers in articulating the pedagogical rationale underlying their practice, and uniquely, to engage them in theory building about strategic technology use.
This paper reports on a follow-up study carried out one year after the collaborative analyses in order to assess: (1) the subsequent impact upon teachers' own pedagogical thinking and practices; and (2) the extent to which the ideas and practices they developed had been shared with, taken up and adapted by their colleagues and schools.
The research questions were wide-ranging so as to capture all potential forms of the impact anticipated:
1) a) To what extent and how has engagement in the collaborative video analysis influenced participants' teaching of the topics investigated and of other topics? Have they developed or modified their practice? Have participating colleagues adopted the practices observed in other teaching contexts?
b) Has the analysis had any general impact on pedagogical thinking?
2) Did the constructs introduced from socio-cultural theory influence teacher thinking or understanding of practice in any way?
3) To what extent have the approaches and practices identified been taken up and adapted by
(1) other subject colleagues or
(2) more widely within the school? What mechanisms are operated here?
And permeating all of the above, what were the supporting or constraining factors affecting adoption, development and dissemination?
The teachers were established, reflective practitioners who also had experience of mentoring trainee and newly qualified teachers. Five had been involved in the authors’ previous research; past interviews had yielded evidence of well-articulated pedagogy for 'integral use' of technology in everyday practice (Dawes, 2001) and of developing new approaches promoting active learning.
The eight teachers were questioned using a semi-structured interview technique that allowed the authors to elicit structured and personalised accounts of impact on pedagogical thinking and practice and the supporting or constraining factors.
The findings suggest that for at least some, the sociocultural theory introduced and reformulated during the analyses provided a powerful analytical lens upon emerging practices, including those not incorporating technology. All of the participants reported lasting effects upon their own thinking and, except where external constraints operated, on teaching practices.
The approaches developed during T-MEDIA had additionally been disseminated to and adapted by other subject colleagues. The study illustrates how collaborative analysis of lesson videos can be used to engage teachers in deep reflection, critique and debate. This approach supports the development of an analytical scrutiny of classroom teaching and offers a significant professional development opportunity. In particular, under conditions of sensitive support, teachers will readily accommodate theoretical constructs into specific areas of professional thinking and practice.
Dawes, L. Leask, M. (ed) (2001) What stops teachers using new technology?. Issues in teaching using ICT pp. 61-79. Routledge , London